SINGAPORE: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has approved an initial grant of US$200,000 (RM730,000) in relief aid for Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar, and called for urgent search and rescue operations to save Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi migrants at sea.
The grant was approved at a meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Kuwait last week.
It said the assistance would be channeled through local humanitarian NGOs working in the countries hosting the Rohingya refugees.
The OIC’s special envoy for Myanmar, former Malaysian foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar, urged governments and peoples of the region to provide immediate relief and shelter to the refugees.
He called for action on the root causes of the crisis by carrying out programmes to reduce poverty and provide development in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and in Bangladesh.
In a statement the OIC Special Envoy said the Islamic countries rejected Myanmar’s stand that Rohingya were not indigenous people but illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The OIC held that the Rohingya are an indigenous community of Myanmar excluded from the ethnic minority list in the 1982 Citizenship Act.
It urged the Myanmar government to abide by its obligations under international law and human rights covenants.